College Essays: Hugs vs. Emojis

Josh Goldbach28 Feb, 2020
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At Bold Earth, we focus on providing our hard-working, high-achieving students with a chance to disconnect from the pressures of school and have a fun summer experience. While we are not an academic program (kids are in school enough these days) or a college preparatory experience, we believe that Bold Earth remains educational and can help students prepare for college in a different way. 

We were honored that one of our students from our Ultimate Hawaii program last year chose to write her college essay about her Bold Earth experience. Over the years, many of our students have written their college essays about their adventures (we consider it the best review of Bold Earth). Joining a group where you don’t know anyone in a foreign place is a lot like the social experience of beginning college. A Bold Earth experience can give students the confidence they need to be successful in that environment. 

Thank you to Jordan Dalton for sharing this essay with us, and for being a great student! We know you’ll be successful wherever you go. 

Hawaii Teen Group

A mysterious new place with ten strangers from different cultures all around the world. Three weeks doing community service for the citizens of Hawaii. No technology, no simple comforts, no communication with people from home. This is how I started my summer of 2019. Little did I know that this trip would provide me with a life message hidden from the typical bypasses in our ever-changing innovative society.

As a child of the 21st century, I have grown up with technology in my life. I had a flip phone at the young age of eight and started using computers to do all of my homework at the age of eleven. There has never been a time where I was disconnected from the world wide web, until my Hawaii trip. At first, I was scared, I had never been away from my parents and friends for so long and didn’t know if I was going to make friends with these new people. After arriving in Hawaii, we all sat in the airport and introduced ourselves to each other. Barcelona, Maryland, Germany, the UK, these were just a few of the different places these people call home. We all had different backgrounds but found similarities in one another. For three weeks, we ate together, slept together, told stories of our lives, and worked together to accomplish the goal for the day. Of course in the beginning, we were uptight and scared to talk to one another, but after only four days we were already cracking jokes and becoming more comfortable. We helped a local Hawaiian village harvest their crops and make dinners for them. We worked as a team and bonded through our experiences.

After the first week and a half, we would all say “goodnight” and give a hug to every person before we retreated to our tents for a good night’s sleep. A hug, such a simple thing with meaning beyond compare. Looking back, I realized I was closer with those people by the end of the trip then I was with friends I had known for five or more years. Everything we did, we did together. We went through the same struggles every day, we told stories in person, and we gave hugs to each other to show how much we cared for them. At home, I would have texted my friends if I wanted to tell them a story and given them a heart emoji to try and show them that I care. An emoji can never compare to a hug. Telling a story through text does not have as much meaning as telling them in person. I learned a lot of things from this trip but the biggest message I took away was that technology is hindering our social connections and making us slaves to the internet.

When I got back, I didn’t want to get back on my phone. I wanted to stay in my newly made bubble with the ten other lifelong friends that I made. Our connections were through memories we created together. So I urge you, if you are reading this, make connections in real life and don’t be a slave to social media. A hug means a lot more than an emoji.

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